Friday, July 30, 2010

Manolo Blanhnik's or Bikes?

I chose bikes.

I don't have a plethora of expensive bikes but I have more than I think I really should (insert hand wringing) yet every time I make the commitment to sell one, a tiny bead of sweat appears across my upper lip and I panic ( just a little) and rescue it from the selling platform.

 A case of  TGP Bike hoarding?

You decide:
Lets start with this one. 

This is a RESCUED  classic steel Marinoni road bike. It used to be
a god awful  yellow fade to bile green.  After some cosmetic surgery of  new training wheels, a compact crank, saddle, professional Hot Tubes paint job, all new PINK housing cables, several bar wraps ( I'M REALLY GOOD AT THIS!)  I'm attached this bike.
 JUSTIFICATION ON KEEPING THIS:  This is my commuter bike (that I don't commute with) It's my early spring bike when the roads are sandy and pot holey.  Just recently it had yet another round of Botox Cosmetic and here she is now:
Wheel decals removed, new bottle cages and  fresh new pink bar tape that matches the cages all done by me.
Please ignore the red SPD  pedals. Pretend they are pink. I can't give this bike up now, I haven't used the water bottle cages yet.

Number 2

My mountain bike that never sees mountain bike trails.   I love this bike though. It was my first 'test' with cyclocross. I felt safe with the big knobby tires on the course and front bouncy shock. I love the grip shift on this bike too.
JUSTIFICATION ON KEEPING THIS:  I need it for the 1 or 2 times I get up the courage to ride
my bike outside in the arctic temperatures of New England  around mid February when I'm ready to pull my hair out if I have to get on that Compudrainer gerbil wheel, one more time.

Up next:

My pink Elite.  I've had this bike since 2004. It used to be red and I sent it back to Elite in 2006 with a Home Depot paint swatch "Disney Princess Pink" and wala, I had a pink bike.  After several  sets of aero bars and a complete components change  from Ultegra to Dura Ace, It fits like a glove. This bike is like my wooby.
WHY I CAN'T PART WITH IT:  Linus blanket syndrome combined with the little bike hoarding issue.
Nuff said.

Let move on to the impulse buy:
I just had to have this because:

1. My OCD combined with the minor hording disorder made me feel as though that I needed to "even" out the bike collection and 3 was certainly not a balanced number.  4, 4 4, 4, 4, 4, 4,  sort of like light switch on,off, on, off, on off. Gotta have 4

2. It was ON SALE. (please note that having the bike shipped off to be rid of the the cookie-cutter
Cervelo paint job canceled that  'got it for a steal' feeling very quickly.)

3.  See number 1. 

4.  See number 2.

Ah geeze..  I forgot one.  So there goes my even number bike ownership fixation
Here's me sporting a bad a$$ face with my new pink bad a$$ road tires for summer use on my bad a$$ Cannondale cross bike with mud repelling  disc brakes.  Slick.... I know.

I will say bad a$$ one more time just to even that description term used 4 times now. 

I don't have this but I think I need it now that It's become crystal clear I only have 5 bikes in my possession  which could consequently throw the uncontrollable need for even number bike ownership into spiraling turmoil until I do.
PERFECT JUSTIFICATION, the little voice in my head just said.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Mess With Me (Nubble Light Race Report)

 I'm quite sure I  heard  the ocean say this to me  as I stood peering into the thick fog on Long Sands Beach in York Maine looking for at least one orange buoy as promised or at least the outline of  the Nubble Light House I would  be aiming for.  As the morning minutes ticked away to race time, the fog gently dissipated with the forecast of rain nowhere in sight. The sun was out, the beach was warm and  breezy. A perfect summer morning. 

I decided to wear my sleeveless wetsuit having gotten a reading of 62 degrees just a day before the race via the race staff. I have a long sleeve  Blue Seventy wetsuit, but I've never really felt comfortable in it besides the fact it's a workout in itself getting the damn thing on. Could it have to do with my*100 pounds of athlete, 40 pounds of a$$ meat frame* I'm sporting these days?

I do miss my old Orca  wetsuit that had some sort of material lining the  inside that was a breeze to pull on. I had ordered a new Xterra full suit but it didn't arrive in time. RATS!

That was a mistake. ( the wetsuit choice)

Had I taken the ocean seriously I would have been better prepared for the battle it was about to throw my way.  A full suit, 2 swim caps and maybe even those fun little BlueSeventy  swim sox just sitting home collecting dust would have been (better) battle protection.

Lets get to the shark meat of it.   the shortest distance between two points is a straight line

The water was cold but not burn-your-face-cold.  62. Doable for sure.  I did not
stick a toe in the water pre race.  I figured I had 2.4 miles to get some sort of warm up in. No sense getting my panties in a bunch and shivering on the shoreline waiting my impending frolic right?

I stood on the beach, primed and ready. I wasn't thinking about if or how I would tolerate the conditions I might encounter.  I would take them as they presented themselves.   I had a kayak escort that was at first,  a requirement for each swimmer but then as the race approached, the rules changed, it became an option. If you could submit results of a one mile swim under 30 minutes this could be waived.  Pfffffffff. No problem-o but I kept  my security blanket kayak guy, Rick from Kittery Point. Being it  the first inaugural event, and not knowing really how things would go down out there I made the right decision as you will soon learn.  the shortest distance between two points is a straight line
I hugged my right hand man and PSB (potential shark basher) Rick and sent him off for final preparations. I would see him 300 yards off shore in Wave 2 - Red caps.   I "Be-Dazzled" my swim cap with waterproof silvery duct tape i found at Home Depot so Rick could pick me out. Now that  I think about it, he only had to look for the bubble headed bottle blond that was dumb enough to have her stick arms exposed.       

                                          swimming through the "gut"
Oh.. I Be-Dazzled Rick too with gold garland and a Red Sox flag for his vessel so my family on shore could see him at the middle check point- a narrow channel  or "The Gut" which brought us from Longs Sands beach over to Shorts Sands beach with a quintessential Maine rocky coast line, the light house looming above,  and a smattering of lobsta traps, to brush by. 

5,4,3,2,1  and my wave was off.  I tumbled through the waves and decided dunking under the surf line was the easiest way to get out past it. Success.
With a few re-adjustments of my goggles I was in a good groove and suddenly found myself not concerned with the water temperature one bit.   Cool.......
                                                                                                              see my foot?

Within 10 minutes Rick was paddling by my side. I was excited! Off we go!! I'm NAILING THIS SUCKER...   the shortest distance between two points is a straight line

or so I thought....

I was cruising along trying to stick with my friend and WestSide Swim Club coach Nate McBride's suggested sighting/stroke pattern  8/10/18  he had given me. The more swimming, the less slighting, the less lag.
 All was going well until the ocean decided to mix things up a bit and see how all 100 of us were gonna handle a few wallops of the most fridge water I've ever experienced. It was as if someone opened up the antarctic flood gates because suddenly I was short  of breath trying to acclimate to cold water yet I was already in cold water!  I gathered myself ( having to breath every stroke for a bit) and PRAYED that this was just a mini pocket from a current and all would be fine.   the shortest distance between two points is a straight line

Almost to the Light house (about 1/2 hour in) My Kayak guy Rick started blowing his whistle.
"Dear mother of Jesus.. does he see a shark or something???"  I pop up and whip around only
to hear  him yelling he is helping out another swimmer in distress.

Mommy....  I'm scared.... 
"Pull yourself together!!!!" and so i did (well sort of)the shortest distance between two points is a straight line

I'll cut to the chase.  The water DID warm up but only in small sections and not enough to make
me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Instead, my head started to feel like it contained a large amount
of helium and my praying mantis arms began to feel like dead tree sticks with a garden claw on the end.
(think scarecrow)

I exited the midway point to head for home and decided (in a helium head kind of way) going OUT to the right instead of hugging the coastline was a far better option. (for hypothermia)

Now if I was smart, I would have explained to my kayak escort, " I have a little problem. I tend to zig and then zag when I open water swim. FEEL FREE to whack me with one of your paddles if
I go wandering like Lindsay Lohan searching for her fallen cell phone under the table after her third  bottle of Kurg.
You get my point.

Hummmmm... silly me for leaving out that minor little detail on the pre-swim pep talk.

FINALLY I hit the shore line and climbed out of the water on my frozen stumps but not without 

falling back into the water a few times while everyone watched.  Lovely!

15-20 minutes of some much needed  attention, I was good as gold and contemplating a re-match
with that ocean next year but not without:

A full wetsuit
At least 2 (short) cold water swims
My cozy BlueSeventy  sox 
and either 2 swim caps or a thermal cap (so very fashionable..not)
oh... and how can I leave out the most important task to learn?
the shortest distance between two points is a straight line

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nubble Light 2.4 Mile Swim Photos

                                              Topping off the Tank!

                                          Rick, my Kayak escort


                                           Fellow MIT Masters swimmers

 The first of NOT ENOUGH buoys for horrible slighter (me)

                                Swimming through "The Gut"  a channel between The Nubble Light House and
                                a jetty. Foggy one minute.....
                                Sunny within minutes out of the channel.

 Heading home but a tad off course?  Ha ha....  If you look closely, you can see another swimmer's kayaker way over near the houses. 

Race report later!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Plodding along and embracing my limbs

All is well. My training is coming along if ever so slowly. I  must constantly keep reminding myself you don't get injured over night and you  certainly don't regain your fitness back that quickly either. I'm anxiously awaiting my big ocean adventure scheduled for next weekend in York Maine.  I just printed out the race packet and you'd a though I was doing an Ironman with all the printed pages in the packet of logistics and such.   I made the mistake of reading the packet right before going to bed after printing it out. BIG MISTAKE.  My eyes were like saucers when I flipped off the light. Here's a bit of the race packet info I've been milling over.

1. There will be four buoys located on the course and one just before the finish.  Swimmers must stay to the right of all buoys.  Now call me spoiled by triathlon 1.2 mile swims, but I distinctly remember many more buoys to sight off of then 4.  And where's my big blow up arch I want to run through at the finish??

2. Be aware there will be lobster buoys scattered throughout the race course. Swimmers are not to hang onto them or disturb them in any way.   I think it's pretty safe to say, I won't be diddling along the course looking for lobster buoys to hang on to. Now mistaking them for a race buoy, THAT is another ball of wax.

3. Hypothermia: Hypothermia is a medical condition that occurs when the core temperature of the body drops below 35 degrees C, (95 degrees F). Swimmers are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia when swimming in cold water. Individuals that are the most susceptible are those people without much body fat, especially slender males. The risk of hypothermia increases when fatigue occurs during swimming. The amount of time spent in the water is also a significant risk factor for hypothermia. That is, the longer the amount of time spent in the water, the higher the risk. Water temperature above 60 degrees is usually not a problem for the swimmer. However factors such as strong water current may increase the risk.

The keys to hypothermia include:  uncontrollable shivering, stiff muscles,  numbness in extremities,  extreme fatigue.
 VERY considerate of the race director to remind all of us this potential hazard  in the tropical waters of MAINE!!!
4.Swimmers are encouraged to avoid the shoreline and any rock formations.
No comment.

And lastly, you just can't make this up people.  Today on my Comcast Home page:

Boaters told to be alert for sharks off Northeast

"experts believe more will return this summer, attracted by the exploding local population of seals, a favorite shark food."  Ok, so lets play the association game.   Wetsuit/ shark food
Wetsuit/seal.  Wetsuit/shark chum

"sharks in the ocean waters off the Northeast, warning that the creatures could easily capsize a small boat or kayak"  I'd say my theory of having the non required kayak escort with me to beat off any potential  flesh-eating fish with his or her paddle just went swirling down the toilet.

"officials held a news conference this week to stress that no great whites — the kind of shark that taunted swimmers in the book and movie "Jaws" — had been spotted near beaches, and that beachgoers and swimmers should not be worried so long as they exercise "common sense" and avoid swimming near seals." This can't possibly apply to dressing up like a seal and trashing around in the water with 100 other seal-like human.  No..... yes!!!!! No... YES!!! NO  YEEEEES!!